Aviva Premiership round-up: Morris double leaves Tigers purring


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The Independent Online

It looks impressive on paper, but the 31-9 scoreline makes Leicester's victory over London Irish in the Aviva Premiership appear better than it was. Comfortable about covers it. The Tigers did register four tries at the Madejski Stadium, but two of those were awards by the referee, Luke Pearce. Nothing, though, should detract from the two fine tries that Niall Morris scored in the testing conditions, securing the bonus point in the last minute.

Those penalty tries, though, reflected the fact that the Exiles' determination at times turned to desperation. They battled back well from 14-0 to 14-9 with three penalties by Ian Humphreys, but then things got away from them.

After an indifferent start Leicester took the lead through a piece of brilliance after 11 minutes. Toby Flood sent a quick kick 50 metres across the field from halfway and a favourable bounce allowed Morris to hold off Tom Homer for the try, which Flood converted.

Leicester took command but it was Irish who almost scored. Topsy Ojo hacked ahead 50 metres after a poor throw by Tom Youngs at a line-out. but the ball ran long. Then Leicester pressure allowed them to extend their lead as Irish disrupted a reset scrum and conceded the first penalty try, which Flood converted.

Humphreys kicked a simple penalty before half-time, and when he added two more after Ben Youngs had been sent to the bin, the Exiles were within touching distance. They battled until the last 12 minutes before Flood kicked a long penalty and then Morris was taken out while chasing a kick ahead and Flood kicked Leicester 24-9 ahead. It was Flood and Morris who again teamed up in the last minute to earn the bonus point.

Gloucester's impressive fly-half Freddie Burns kicked six penalties to earn his side a close-fought victory over Exeter, whose hooker, Simon Alcott, scored the only try of a frantic, feisty match in front of a sell-out crowd at Kingsholm. Exeter's fly-half, Gareth Steenson, converted Alcott's try and added three penalties.

Buoyed by two successive wins, Exeter set about the home side but, from 6-3 behind, Gloucester imposed themselves, with Burns turning the pressure into points. However, at 12-6 ahead, Exeter surged back with a Steenson penalty and Alcott's converted try, which left them four points in front. Burns then cut the margin before kicking the winning points seven minutes from time after Exeter went over the top of a ruck.